What does it mean to be "weird?"

by phil on Wednesday Mar 15, 2006 9:44 PM

Am I weird? Am I different? Of course. Much of my behavior and thinking is as different as e.e. cummings poetry is different to mainstream poetry. It's hard to grasp a rational force behind my actions because the structure of my choices, both minute and large, deviate from mainstream behavior.

Ordinary people, when they get to know me, react negatively unless they've developed a tolerance for aberration. Often times, the people that have developed this kind of tolerance either have weird qualities themselves or are surrounded by weird people. If they have weird qualities themselves, then their outreach is welcoming. If it's merely that they're used to weird people, then their approach is one of pity.

I had friends early in college for whom I was somewhat of a novelty. They'd laugh at things I would say even though I didn't intend them to be funny. They weren't trying to put me down, but rather a lot of what I say is out-there. I usually get a rile out of people. I think I make people laugh more than people who are considered comedians, but they're laughing at me because I'm an oddball. And so with these friends of mine, I never felt exactly part of their circle. I'd hang out with them, but I always felt like an other.

College is a great place to figure yourself out and to find the groups that you belong to. There was one group of people who wore uncoordinated clothing, discussed sci-fi novels, watched cartoons, listened to 80s music, played old-school video game consoles, and spoke in annoying pitches. I guess you could call them geeks. Thing is, half of that sketch matches me, so I figured maybe I'd fit in. But I didn't. I found them immature and silly. I had come in there expecting that I'd fit in because they were weird and so was I. This was true to some extent, as they were tolerant of my unusual behavior. But they were more than unusual. They are better described as being eccentric. To be part of their group, it wasn't enough to just be different, but you had to have peculiar tastes and peculiar phrasing. Perhaps I deviate from mainstream, but I don't have a peculiar voice or style. I'm not eccentric.

Another group that I encountered was seen wearing dark clothing and make-up, and listening to goth or hardcore music. They avoided interacting with ordinary people, and were into art, strange films, and deep conversations. And they too had a tolerance for my difference. They rejected the mainstream so they were open to anybody that wasn't mainstream as well. But their rebellion of the majority led them to embrace the tastes of a minority subculture. I didn't embrace their subculture because I didn't embrace any particular culture. So while I thought I'd get along with them because we both rejected the norm, to completely fit in I had to embrace the their new norm.

The process of not fitting-in with both groups led me to understand more about why I'm different. For me difference is about independence. It's about choosing things for their absolute value, independent of the choices and opinions of others. Being different is therefore expediency. For example, I often use advanced vocabulary to find the best wordchoice for the ultimate expressions. It's not because I'm pedantic, geeky, eccentric, or fancy. Another example is that I don't listen to hardcore music and watch artsy films because I define myself with the terminology of those genres, but rather because a lot of great art overlaps with those categories.

While as ordinary people are just interested in going with the social flow, making smooth conversations here and there, I'm usually trying to achieve something. Conversation and living are artforms for which it is my duty to maximalize at all times. I even enjoy making up words, something that those geeks or goths don't do. For me it's about creative difference.

The process is exhaustive to those that don't have a tolerance for weirdness. I've visibly discerned people get exhausted by my statements. I perceive it as novelty fatigue, or more uncharitably, as neo-phobia.

Shame on me for being anti-social like that.


Pyrrhus said on May 23, 2006 1:53 PM:

Stuck in a crazy limbo. Thinking such strange thoughts.. knowing your not mad.. trying to do what is right in a rapidly changing society, trying so hard and then not knowing what is right in the first place. Analyzing every second i exist - too much. Ok im not saying im wierd, and im 19 maybe im going through teenage insecurity, asking all these questions.
This is really unstructured and i hope u dont mind me spilling Phil :)

Someone must be able to say, from experience, whether we seek life affirmation ? or something "outside" of our understanding. At the moment... Ah screw this im guna read your website its sooo cool. Really does help the over-educated insecure upper 6th form teenagers who find their brains flying around their heads in a cyclone of distruction. Ok im gun read, if you have anything which might make me feel better, or has worked for you, please post in again! Because i feel pretty wierd !

Philip Dhingra said on May 23, 2006 2:20 PM:

My 19 was my most cyclonic year man. That was the second half of my freshman year when the honeymoon spell of collegiate enthusiasm was broken. It was also the first half of my sophomore year, when physical realities, and not just emotional and psychological realities, pushed me up against the wall and forced me to find the answer.

Since then, I took up painting, travelled by myself, took up writing, and in general, kind of learned to take it easy.

ranid clark said on November 2, 2007 11:03 AM:

i am a very stranger person

ranid clark said on November 2, 2007 11:03 AM:

i am a very stranger person

anonymous said on October 14, 2009 4:00 PM:

wow, what you wrote sounds a lot like me. glad to know i am not alone.

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